Chapel Hill bans all cellphone use while driving

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In the state of North Carolina, sending or reading text messages behind the wheel of a moving automobile is against the law, as is cellphone use of any kind for a driver under 18 years of age, but the city of Chapel Hill, NC, recently passed the first citywide ordinance in the United States banning both handheld and hands-free cellphone use while driving. The city council’s 5 to 4 decision came after a two year debate on the topic. All but emergency cellphone use on any streets or state roads within the city limits will be punished by a $25 fine.

According to authorities, the ordinance will be difficult to regulate because it conflicts with the states law on cellphone use, and because police would be hard-pressed to prove a violation without conducting a search of a driver’s cellphone. The National Transportation Safety Board, however, sent Chapel Hill’s mayor a letter supporting the ordinance.

Evanston, Illinois, another college town of comparable size to Chapel Hill, is considering a similar ban. Since banning handheld cellphone use while driving two years ago, the instances of automobile collisions have dropped by approximately 17.6 percent.

As a Long Beach car accident lawyer, I have seen the damage drivers can do when they shift their focus away from the road ahead of them. If you or someone you love has been harmed in an accident linked to distracted driving, please consider hiring a Ventura car accident lawyer.